Photo Information

Marines serving with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Battalion Landing Team 3/1 debark CH-46 Sea Knights here Sept. 4. The Marines performed a live-fire, long-range helicopter raid between USS Makin Island and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

Photo by Cpl. Gene Allen Ainsworth III

India Co. conducts long-range raid

4 Sep 2011 | Public Affairs 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Helicopters carrying Company I Marines from an oceangoing ship flew 115 miles inland to Twentynine Palms, Calif., where the riflemen performed a daytime live-fire training raid Sept. 4.

Pilots of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced) – the aviation combat element of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit – flew the raiders from the amphibious assault ship Makin Island off Southern California’s coast to a range at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Training helps sharpen our skills and allows us the ability to conduct any mission at a moment’s notice,” said Cpl. Charles D. West, a squad leader with Company I.

The rifle company is one of three in Battalion Landing Team 3/1, the unit’s ground combat element.

Machine gunners provided fire support for the maneuver element, which moved toward an objective to capture a role player acting as a suspected terrorist, according to West, 22, who hails from Rockford, Ill.

“The Marines are prepared for deployment,” said Capt. Matt McGirr, who hails from Buffalo, N.Y., and serves as Company I’s commanding officer. “They were able to pull off a company-level long-range helo raid from ship-to-shore, with live fire and minimal rehearsal, with great success.”

Marines with the squadron set up a forward arming and refueling point in Barstow, Calif., allowing CH-46E Sea Knights, CH-53E Sea Stallions, UH-1Y Venoms, AH-1Z Vipers and AV-8B Harriers to fly inland and cover the distance from sea to objective.

The unit – scheduled to deploy this fall to the Western Pacific and Middle East regions – began a sea-based exercise Sept. 1, the second aboard amphibious ships since becoming a complete Marine air-ground task force in May.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
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Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
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LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
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Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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